The Wild Atlantic Way leads along the Irish west coast starting on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal and ending in the little town Kinsale in County Cork. You can take the whole trip in one journey down south or start in the south and make your way up towards Donegal, but there is much to discover and many details to explore, which takes a lot of time. You can always revisit the Wild Atlantic Way and explore the stages one by one and take your time, instead of taking the whole trip at once. Following are some important things for you to know about the Wild Atlantic Way.

Navigating on the Wild Atlantic Way

You don’t necessarily need a map to explore the Wild Atlantic Way, since there are more than enough road signs to help you to keep on track. And in case you should get lost, you shouldn’t have any problems finding somebody, who is willing to help you find back to where you want to go. The road signs can’t be missed, once you are on the Wild Atlantic Way and they are really easy to recognize:

Wild Atlantic Way road sign

This sign should be easy to find, once you get close to the Wild Atlantic Way. After following the sign, there will be more signs to be found shortly, which will lead you along the Wild Atlantic Way, either southbound or northbound.

Wild Atlantic Way South

If you are traveling southbound, just follow the WAW (S) sign.

Wild Atlantic Way South

If you are travelling northbound, the WAW (N) signs are the ones you are looking for.

Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point

Made it! This is an exemplary sign for a Discovery Point or Signature Point of the Wild Atlantic Way. If you see one of those signs, it’s a good time to take a break, go out and explore and discover some of the most remarkable spots of Ireland’s western coast.

Discovery Points and Signature Points of the Wild Atlantic Way

Wild Atlantic Way sign

Along the Wild Atlantic Way there are many Discovery Points, which are pointed out by signs with the WAW logo. On our website you can find information about the Discovery Points of the different stages of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Among the many Discovery Points there are only fifteen, which have been chosen as Signature Points. These places are especially unique and shape the image of Ireland’s remarkable west coast.

Activities along the Wild Atlantic Way

Wild Atlantic Way Activities

Besides the scenic coastal route and the many Discovery Points along the Wild Atlantic Way, there are also many activities you can engage in. Along the coast there are many Blue Flag Beaches, which provide a perfect atmosphere for water-activities such as swimming, diving, surfing or kiteboarding. You can also go for a kayak tour or if you want to enjoy the beautiful ocean, whilst doing something a little more quiet, fishing is always a good option.
If you are more of a hiker or enjoy riding, exploring the scenery by land is also a magnificent experience. Golfing is very popular in Ireland as well and if you are a golf player you shouldn’t miss the extraordinary and beautiful golf courses along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Wild Atlantic Way Dining

Culinary there is a lot to discover, too. Cosy, little Cafés, Restaurants with home-made dishes and local specialities as well as bars and pubs – which are found at nearly every corner – where life is pulsating and spontaneous jam sessions are quite normal.

Stages of the Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way is divided into four main regions and 14 stages:

The Northwest (County Donegal, Leitrim & Sligo)

Stages of the Northwest are:

Inishowen Peninsula – Derry to Letterkenny
Fanad Head – Letterkenny to Bunbeg
Slieve League Coast – Bunbeg to Donegal Town
Donegal Bay and Sligo – Donegal Town to Ballina

The most important towns in the Northwest are Buncrana, Letterkenny, Dunfanaghy, Dungloe, Ardara, Donegal Town, Bundoran and Sligo

The West (County Mayo & Galway)

Stages of the West are:

Erris – Ballina to Belmullet
Achill Island and Clew Bay – Belmullet to Westport
Killary Harbour – Westport to Clifden
Connemara – Clifden to Galway

The most important towns in the West are Ballina, Belmullet, Westport, Clifden and Galway.

The Midwest (County Clare, Limerick & Kerry)

Stages of the Midwest are:

Burren and West Clare – Galway to Kilkee
The Shannon Estuary – Kilkee to Tralee

The most important towns in the Midwest are Kinvarra, Doolin, Lahinch, Kilkee, Kilrush and Ballybunnion.

The Southwest (County Kerry and Cork)

Stages of the Southwest:

Dingle Peninsula – Tralee to Castlemaine
Ring of Kerry – Castlemaine to Kenmare
Beara and Sheep’s Head – Kenmare to Durrus
West Cork – Durrus to Kinsale

The most important towns in the Southwest are Tralee, Dingle Town, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Sneem, Kenmare, Bantry, Skibbereen, Clonakilty and Kinsale.